November 29, 2013

Trinidad Colorado Vintage Clothing Haul

After a blogging hiatus, I thought the best blog post to write would be one reason that prompted the break - a trip to the Wild West.  We traveled to Trinidad, Colorado, to buy vintage clothing from the Sal-Mar Dress Shop and next-door Fox Theatre, two buildings stuffed full by hoarders for the last several decades.

We arrived in Colorado ogling at the snow and mountains.  Here in Florida we don't have either, so this was a welcome departure. In a place this far removed from seemingly everything, we got a break from the daily grind, and a hint of the kinds of temperatures most of the country experiences in the fall.  Ice in October was not on our radar!


There's a lot of history in Trinidad, a once-thriving mining town near the border of Colorado and New Mexico.  According to our hostess, Doreen Amato, nowadays the town has forty bars and forty churches.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem to have much else in the way of industry.  The sightseeing was varied and slow-paced, especially quiet as our trip was scheduled just after their busy season ended.


Don't fence me in.

This historic jail was full of "outlaws".
Doreen made sure to show us the kind of hospitality the West is known for. Thanks to her self-described "genius", we had plenty of time for people-watching and exploring nearby towns.  This terrific 1930s era hand-painted shoe shop sign was seen in rural New Mexico.

One town away from the Fox Theatre is the El Raton Theatre, a beautiful building in another sleepy town just over the border into New Mexico.  There we met some friendly folks with lots of advice about "local characters" and ideas for places we "out-of-towners" should check out.

This exit looks like fun!
Fried marbles?  What else could we expect on "Flea Market Road"!
Apparently you fry them in a skillet, and voila!  A new piece of jewelry.

After our jaunt to El Raton, it was back to Trinidad to walk Main Street and get down to old clothes business.  We had lots of square footage to dig through... not only the Fox Theatre building, but also the Keller Glass building down the road.  Tourist time is over!


Well... maybe one last peek.  This was a cool find - a Sweet-Orr workwear advertisement painted on a brick wall in downtown Trinidad.  It looks like a vintage 1930s ad, complete with denim-clad workmen in a tug of war. 

Downtown Trinidad had many more interesting shops other than our destination at Sal-Mar.  Unfortunately many were closed due to the season's end.  One beautiful Southwest jewelry shop was a stellar find, but its owner didn't allow photography to protect the collection.

This historic photograph depicts part of the once-busy shopping district in downtown Trinidad.  Jamieson's Department Store was a mainstay for Trinidad residents until it closed in 1985.  The Sal-Mar Dress Shop closed a few years later, but it was never cleaned out.  Dust is just part of the job...

Once we started work in the beautiful Fox Theatre, we knew we weren't in a "gold mine" of any sort, despite the fact that the walls were literally leafed in 14-karat.  While the clothes proved to be interesting, they weren't as old as promised (1940s & later), and moth holes abounded.  In case you're wondering (and we know you are!) the good stuff we got is mostly late 1960s office wear.  Think Mad Men, and you've got it.

This theatre-slash-storage unit was built around 1906, and it was an absolutely beautiful place to spend the day.

A "time capsule" of 1960s outfits still in the tissue paper - always a blast!
There was stuff in every corner!  These were hoarders of the highest degree, and it turned out so are their heirs.  Many of the best pieces were pulled out by relatives for themselves or to sell on Ebay. C'est la vie!

This dress was described
as a 1930s glamour gown,
but it actually dates to the

But the ambiance was certainly lovely, and there was a good chunk of vintage clothing our Vixens will enjoy. 
Fruits of a 48-hour shopping marathon!

And so we packed enough boxes to fill a corner of our warehouse, freighted the lot and settled in for a restful trip home.  I can say for certain that I enjoy selling coats (and sweaters and mittens and winter hats) more than I enjoy wearing them!  But for a few days, it was quite a diversion.

Despite a few bumps along the road, we enjoyed spectacularly beautiful countryside and an adventure we couldn't replicate if we tried.  If you head that way, expect the Wild West to live up to its name.

 Happy trails!